2016 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks 3.0

The quarterback position is the most important in the NFL game today, which was evident when the first two picks in the draft were quarterbacks despite them not being the best overall players. The game has evolved so much that throwing 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns is considered average.

Yet while quarterbacks are valued and paid more than anyone else in the league, it has become customary in Fantasy Football not to draft the position until the 3rd round at the earliest. There are some quarterbacks who can win games for you all by themselves (Cam Newton), some who will give you a solid output week-to-week (Carson Palmer) and those who could lose games for you (Hopefully not ranked here).

After publishing the first list back in February and another on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, let’s take a look one last look at the Top-25 quarterbacks who will likely be drafted in your league this year.

1. Cam Newton, Panthers

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Cam Newton scored touchdowns, whether it was through the air or on the ground, in EVERY game he played during the 2015 season. He recorded 45 in total (35 passing, 10 rushing), plus 3,837 yards passing and 636 yards rushing. It was an unprecedented year for a quarterback, and sure it’s hard to expect him or anyone to do it again…but Newton’s talent and skill-set are too unique to doubt it.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

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Aaron Rodgers saw his numbers dip a little last season without Jordy Nelson. 31 TD/8 INT are nice for anyone, but down from the 38/5 the year before. Twice he threw 4 or more touchdowns in a game in 2015, but he wasn’t helping fantasay owners much down the stretch averaging just 1 TD and 1 INT a game in the final 3 games of the season. How often, though, have you seen Rodgers make throws and finish drives like the best quarterback in the league should? The Packers offense appears to be returning to normalcy in 2016, and that bodes well for the Discount Double-Check.

3. Carson Palmer, Cardinals

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Carson Palmer consistently gave those who likely stole him in the middle rounds last year a stat line of 2 touchdowns and 290 yards per game. That consistency goes a long way when everyone after Palmer on this list (outside of Tom Brady) has proven to give you a much worse output on any given Sunday. Palmer is 36 and not getting any younger, but the talent around him should continue the momentum he has built following his best statistical season to date (35 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 4,671 yards).

4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

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If there was another quarterback who could put up similar numbers to Cam Newton, Russell Wilson may have the tools to do so. Take a look at 7-game sample sizes from 2015 where both quarterbacks completely lit it up:

Wilson (Weeks 10-16) – 25 total touchdowns, 1 interception

Newton (Weeks 8-14) – 29 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions

The Seahawks offense found an incredible groove in that span, and it was built around both Russell and Thomas Rawls. With most of the offense returning and hopefully a better Year 2 of Jimmy Graham, it’s not inconceivable to see Wilson sustain that production for a full season.

5. Tom Brady, Patriots

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The Patriots (and the rest of the league) appear to have accepted Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension, but that shouldn’t stop you from drafting him by the 5th or 6th round. The caveat should be that you have your fill-in quarterback drafted not long after, but Brady will be returning after throwing the most touchdown passes in 2015. He’ll also have the best tight end combo in the league (Gronk & Bennett) to absolutely terrify opposing red zone defenses.

6. Blake Bortles, Jaguars

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Despite being the most sacked quarterback in the league in each of the 2 seasons of his career, Blake Bortles was one of the most improved players overall from one season to the next. Additions to the offensive line and Chris Ivory should improve Bortles’ protection, and his wide receiver tandem of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are one of the best in the NFL.

7. Drew Brees, Saints

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Although it’s been a slight decline year-to-year, Drew Brees has averaged 5,127.4 yards thrown over the past 5 seasons. Yardage hasn’t been a problem for the 37-year-old quarterback, neither have attempts or completions as he ranked 2nd in both last season. Also declining have been his touchdown numbers though, throwing 32 last season when he averaged 40 the four years prior. He did throw multiple touchdowns in 9 of his 15 games last season, including a 7-touchdown performance Week 8 against the Giants.

8. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

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Despite missing 4 games last season, Ben Roethlisberger still got after it with the high-powered Steelers offense. For the 2nd season in a row, Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards per game (328.2). Even without Martavis Bryant, he’ll have Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Ladarius Green, and Le’Veon Bell available to make big plays for him.

9. Eli Manning, Giants

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There is only one Manning brother in the league, and he’s coming off a season where he threw the most touchdowns of his career. Eli Manning threw multiple touchdowns in 11 of his 16 games, 5 of which were for 3+ (including the 6-touchdown battle with Drew Brees). The Giants spent most of their free agency spending on the defensive side of the ball, but upgraded their pass catching group by drafting WR Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma) and TE Jerell Adams (South Carolina). Year 3 of Odell Beckham Jr. should also lead to plenty more “throw it up and catch it” plays from Eli.

10. Andrew Luck, Colts

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 After awarding him with the league’s biggest contract, 6 years for $140 million, the Colts are betting a lot on Andrew Luck to be the quarterback who threw 40 touchdowns and 4,761 yards in 2014…not the one who only played 7 games in 2015 and threw just 15 touchdowns. When you invest that kind of money in a quarterback, the pressure is on for him to produce.

11. Derek Carr, Raiders

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Derek Carr is a star in the making. Like Bortles, Carr had a much better sophomore season by throwing 11 more touchdowns than he had in his rookie season. He also led the league in comeback victories with 4 total. I expect his chemistry with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to improve even more, for Latavius Murray to compliment him better, and for their incredible offensive line to make all of that possible.

12. Philip Rivers, Chargers

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The pass-happiest quarterback of them all started out so incredibly hot in 2015. In the first half, Rivers averaged 344 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Then EVERYONE around him got injured, including Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates and a majority of his offensive line. It was Rivers and Danny Woodhead against the world (which needs to be a buddy comedy). Ken Whisenhunt has returned to San Diego as offensive coordinator, who helped resurrect Rivers’ Pro Bowl production in 2013. He should be available in the middle rounds as a late QB1 or top tier QB2, and his weapons will be touch to pass on as well.

13. Andy Dalton, Bengals

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I found myself rooting hard for Andy Dalton last season. He always gets the Bengals to the playoffs but can’t get them out of the first round, so he takes a lot of heat for that. Before getting injured early in his 13th game of the season, Dalton was on pace to match his career high passing touchdown total (33). 9 of the 12 games prior, he recorded multiple touchdowns and added rushing TD’s in 3 of them. There’s some concern with the departures of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, but #ADalt will still be throwing to AJ Green, Gio Bernard and Tyler Eifert when he returns. Also, don’t sleep on new addition Brandon LaFell filling in the WR2 role.

14. Tony Romo, Cowboys

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ROMOLICIOUS is back! *he says with tongue-in-cheek*

Tony Romo will, in fact, return this season and the front office has provided him with a gift from the NFL Draft in Ezekiel Elliott. We saw what Romo and the rest of the Cowboys offense was able to accomplish with an every-down back like DeMarco Murray (34 touchdowns and 9 INTs in 2014). Enter Elliott, who can run, catch, block and everything Boobie Miles’ uncle talked about in the Friday Night Lights movie. Behind the league’s best offensive line, Romo has less pressure on him and more time to throw to his favorite downfield target, Dez Bryant. Your biggest concern should be “what will happen when he takes another big hit?”

15. Kirk Cousins, Washington

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Kirk Cousins stepped up big in his first full season of starting in the NFL. He threw 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 4,166 yards and that earned him a franchise tag from the Washington front office. His gamelogs don’t flash many multi-touchdown pass games, but he did record 5 with 3+ and 3 of those were for 4. He’ll be motivated even more to earn a longterm deal and the combo of Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson at their healthiest will be helpful in getting there.

16. Jay Cutler, Bears

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Despite injuries to his Top 3 WRs (Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White and Eddie Royal), #1 TE (Martellus Bennett), #1 RB (Matt Forte) and having to manage his offense in spite of a leaky defense, Jay Cutler produced his best statistical season since joining the Chicago Bears. He recorded multiple touchdowns in 8 of the 15 games he played with a receiver group that resembled one from the 4th quarter of a preseason game. A very much improved defense, a franchise tag motivated Jeffery, the debut of Kevin White, and offensive play-calling that compliments his strengths should help Cutler and his numbers immensley in 2016.

17. Matt Ryan, Falcons

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Despite having arguably the best WR to throw to and breakout RB Devonta Freeman, Matt Ryan threw as many touchdowns (21) and MORE interceptions (16) than Jay Cutler in more games played. Just watching him week-to-week, you wanted to yell at your television out loud, “JUST THROW IT UP TO JULIO!”, but Ryan would appear overmatched by the pass rush. Ryan will have better protection with new offensive linemen, like Pro Bowler Alex Mack at Center, and new WR2 Mohamed Sanu. The improvements to the offense should help Ryan bounce back but this will be the last straw for many people.

18. Matthew Stafford, Lions

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There was Matthew Stafford before Jim Bob Cooter (not great) and Matthew Stafford AFTER the OC took over for Joe Lombardi in Detroit. It began with 4 touchdowns against the division rival Bears in Week 6, then 8 multi-touchdown games over the next 10 games (including a 5 TD performance against Philly). Stafford’s issues over his career have always been consistency. He threw 41 TDs in 2011 but then just 20 the next. Fantasy owners better hope history doesn’t repeat itself in the now post-Megatron era.

19. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

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Jameis Winston was clearly the best rookie quarterback last season after going #1 overall and backing it up with 22 touchdowns and 4,042 yards. Unfortunately for Winston, the Bucs didn’t do much upgrading around him on offense after elevating his offensive coordinator to head coach. If Doug Martin lives up to his new contract and Mike Evans catches more balls in the end zone than he drops, Winston could ascend to monster levels, like he had on the field at Florida State.

20. Brock Osweiler, Texans

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Brock Osweiler left Denver for an excellent situation in Houston. The Texans added multi-talented RB Lamar Miller and drafted two ridiculously athletic WRs in Will Fuller and Braxton Miller to compliment the very elite DeAndre Hopkins. Osweiler showcased why he belongs in NFL with a comeback win against Chicago, a statement win against New England, and keeping pace with the high-powered Steelers offense. However, there were times when Osweiler wasn’t inspiring confidence, which setup the welcomed return of aging Peyton Manning. Head Coach Bill O’Brien will be excited to sculpt Osweiler into his kind of quarterback with a great set up weapons. It will be on Osweiler, though, to make it work.

21. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

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Adam Gase should be the best thing to happen to Ryan Tannehill. Gase made TIM TEBOW work for a season, managed Peyton Manning’s offense, and helped Jay Cutler look like the quarterback he was meant to be. Tannehill is ridiculously skilled in play-action and option-style offenses, capable of running and throwing for big plays. With budding star WR Jarvis Landry as his #1 option, Tannehill can play more like the the QB who 4 touchdowns against JJ Watt’s Texans and not the one who contributed nearly nothing in 4 different 2015 games.

22. Marcus Mariota, Titans

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In 1/3 of the 12 games Marcus Mariota played in his rookie season, he threw 3+ touchdowns (tying Peyton Manning’s Rookie record). He became the first player to throw 3 touchdowns and 250+ yards, plus run for over 100 yards as well. Overall, he proved to be a big playmaker. The Titans comitted to continuity by sticking with interim HC Mike Mularkey and also their running game by adding DeMarco Murray and Heisman winner Derrick Henry. If Dorial Green-Beckham finally emerges as a true #1 receiver and the offensive line keeps him in one piece, Super Mariota could continue to grow as Fantasy producing force.

23. Joe Flacco, Ravens

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Joe Flacco’s 3-year extension was Baltimore’s attempt to answer the age-old question “Is Joe Flacco elite?”. He’s never thrown more than 27 touchdowns in a season but can surprise you with a 5-touchdown spot, like he did against Tampa in 2014. In Steve Smith Sr’s farewell season, it shouldn’t be far fetched to see Flacco throwing deep and often to bounce back from his injury-ended 2015 season.

24. Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings

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Since coming into the league in 2014, Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t taken the next step being a viable Fantasy option. 2016 looks like an opportunity for it though, as the Vikings bulked up their offensive line and added the best wide receiver from the draft, Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell is excellent as possession option and Stefon Diggs emerged as a playmaker downfield last season. Now it’s on Bridgewater to make those plays.

25. Alex Smith, Chiefs

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Alex Smith is the safest spot-start option out of anyone that isn’t named on this list. He’s back to throwing touchdowns to wide receivers, has an excellent #1 option in Jeremy Maclin, mini-Gronk Travis Kelce, and Jamaal Charles returning. It’s also worth noting that he threw multiple touchdowns in 4 of the final 6 games of the season and has one of the league’s best defenses to enable him to score more.

More Position Rankings:

Running Backs (3.0)

Quarterbacks (2.0)

Wide Receivers (2.0)

Tight Ends (1.0)

Follow for more and ask questions on Facebook and Twitter

Chicago Bears of Thrones 2016

A tradition we started a year ago was casting the new season of Game of Thrones with members of the Chicago Bears roster. This came about after Pro Bowl lineman had declared Jay Cutler “The One True King of the North”.

I love comparing the two. The Bears are one of the league’s most storied franchises and Game of Thrones is filled with generational lore. It references the glory days of each House, and Winter is always looming.

Since the original list, a year ago, things have changed drastically. Departures and additions to the team have been very similar to the show. Characters have developed and players have evolved. So let’s look at the current Chicago Bears roster and see how they stack up on Game of Thrones.

Kyle Long / Jon Snow

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The biggest debate since the end of Season 5 was “Is Jon Snow dead or not?” Besides the correlations of leadership, pedigree, and loyalty, Bears fans had wondered “Is Kyle Long a guard or tackle?”

Jon rose to the ranks of Lord Commander, killed a White Walker then briefly united the Night’s Watch and the Wildling armies while alive. Long was a 2-time pro bowler as a guard and was awarded again as a tackle, making him the first Bears offensive lineman to named to the Pro Bowl each of his first 3 seasons. Fans of both will get their answers in due time.

 

Alshon Jeffrey / Daenerys Targaryen

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After proving doubters wrong over the course of his impressive young career, the Bears placed the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery to hopefully work out a favorable deal for both sides. At full strength, he’s a devastating force down the field…like Daenerys is with her dragons. Daenerys’s reign is wounded for the time being, much like the questions to Jeffery’s health during the 2015 season. Reunited with her dragons, she can maker her move on the rest of Westeros. One hope’s a new deal with the Bears would have Jeffery poised to do the same in the NFL.

 

Jay Cutler / Jaime Lannister

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A year ago, we had Jay Cutler paired with Stannis Baratheon, “The One True King of the North”. Unfortunately, Stannis couldn’t keep his head. However, Cutler is still quarterback of the Chicago Bears and appears rejuvenated with John Fox’s staff. Jaime Lannister was referred to as “The King Slayer” having literally killed kings and also blamed getting them killed, like Cutler when he was once called a “coach killer”.

The two have had their ups and downs in the public eye. It seems they both needed some humbling, suffered setbacks and injuries, and have adopted antihero statuses for it. Much weirder on Jaime’s end, but being fathers has helped them both in their maturations. You’ll see myself and others Tweet #CuttyDoesIt when Jay slings touchdowns. Might have to start #JaimeDoesIt this upcoming season too.

 

Pernell McPhee / The Mountain (Zombie Mountain)

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Two words: He’s violent.

Pernell McPhee is also coming off an injury and hoping to bounce back even more violent. The Mountain is about to do the same now that he’s been brought back to annihilate everyone on behalf of Cersei.  I call him Zombie Mountain, because I’m very sure he’s 1/3 brutal strength, 1/3 rage, and 1/3 dead. McPhee is likely half and half of the former two.

 

Willie Young / Daario Naharis

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Willie Young had to switch roles last season and had to prove to coaches that he could still get to the quarterback doing so. Daario switched roles going from mercenary to trusted advisor to Daenerys, as well as actors. Both showed they are effective no matter what you do with them and are cold blooded killers…relative to their professions.

 

Tracy Porter / Tyrion Lannister

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Like Tyrion, Tracy Porter was very successful in the beginning. Porter was a Super Bowl champion and Tyrion served as Hand of the King. Porter was then cast off after injuries and playing on unsuccessful teams while Tyrion was disowned by his father (who he would kill for it). Porter got a fresh start and a new contract after a successful first season with the Bears, and Tyrion is now temporarily in charge of Meereen after dream-teaming up with Daenerys.

 

Jeremy Langford / Arya Stark

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Jeremy Langford had the opportunity to prove he can be a feature back during his rookie season with the Bears, and took full advantage of it. Arya got a similar opportunity learning the assassination techniques of the Faceless Men and ALSO took full advantage of it. The Bears seem to be in the market for a new running back, hesitant to give Langford the reigns of the backfield, and the “Many-Faced God” took Arya’s sight. I imagine both will only grow from their experiences.

 

Zach Miller / Sansa Stark

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Over the course of his career, Zach Miller has faced setback after setback when it comes to injuries. Sansa has had to deal with the same, in WAY MORE BRUTAL instances. They both now appear due after their struggles. Miller shined while healthy for the Bears last season and was awarded a new contract. Sansa escaped another evil asshole husband and should have some support waiting for her outside of Winterfel.

Kevin White / Bran Stark

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Well, there’s the obvious. Both Kevin White and Bran Stark sat out last season. White did so because of an injury that kept him off his feet and, well, Bran wasn’t walking around anyway. Both are returning with high expectations in their respective upcoming seasons

 

Eddie Goldman / Hodor

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Eddie Goldman came to the Bears with White in the same draft. While he did play his rookie season, it’s not like he had much to say…like Hodor. Hodor will also be returning with Bran Stark and like Goldman, he’s capable of kicking serious ass.

 

Danny Trevathan / Davos Seaworth

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These are two big time free agents from the offseason. Danny Trevathan comes over from Denver, where he won a Super Bowl. Davos goes to The Wall after helping Stannis conquer much of the North. They’re both somewhere familar, Trevathan reunited with his former head coach and Davos in a place that housed him for a short while. Both will be quality additions for whom they are aligned with, both on gameday and in battle.

 

Robbie Gould / Ser Jorah

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Robbie Gould is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and Ser Jorah is a decorated knight. Both lost some favor with their fan bases, Gould after missing big field goals and Jorah keeping secrets from Daenerys. They’re both fighting back to regain favor and trying to remind everyone of their accomplishments. Jorah also has a HUGE crush on Daenerys…I personally don’t know much about Robbie’s love life, but I do know the female demographic of Bears fans love him.

 

Kyle Fuller / Melisandre

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These two are being tasked with resurrecting the dead, in their own ways. I, like many, am very confident it will take Melisandre’s “Red Woman” voodoo to bring Jon back to life. I also believe it’s going to take Kyle Fuller showing his shutdown defensive back potential to bring the Bears defense back to life as well. In his first two seasons, Fuller has shown flashes of greatness. But like Melisandre, he’s also gotten everyone killed…in coverage.

Eddie Royal / Petyr Baelish

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Eddie Royal is a survivor in the NFL. Not the biggest or the most talented, but he has gets the job done and always has a home. Petyr Baelish is similar in the way that he’s adaptable. I don’t think Royal is necessarily scheming in order to watch the world burn, but he’s savvy and cunning like “Little Finger” that keeps him useful on most teams. He’ll have something to prove this season to remain so with the Bears, like Baelish will for Sansa Stark when they meet again.

 

Ryan Pace / Varys

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GM Ryan Pace is orchestrating this new era of Chicago Bears football and I believe Varys is subtly doing the same in Meereen. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Ser Jorah found Tyrion and brought him to Daenerys Targaryen. Varys has wanted that alliance to happen for a while and feels he’s on the winning team now, just like Pace after a seemingly successful Free Agent period.

 

Jerrell Freeman / Bronn

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Jerrell Freeman comes from the Indianapolis Colts as one of the league’s most consistent inside linebackers who is ready to make some noise with a new team. Bronn has done the same, joining Tyrion as a mercenary but eventually teaming up with Jaime on a rescue mission of his daughter. Both suffered injuries and are looking to bounce back and provide sold enforcement for their new teams.

 

Lamarr Houston / Theon Greyjoy

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Both Lamarr Houston and Theon Greyjoy took heavy blows to their hubris and were looking for redemption. After signing a big contract with the Bears, Houston injured himself for the season doing a sack dance. Theon was also hurt badly below the belt after getting too cocky (pun seriously intended). Houston was productive providing big sacks down the stretch and Theon FINALLY saved Sansa. Will things get better for these two or will their arcs go another direction?

 

Matt Slauson / Brienne of Tarth

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Slauson? Badass warrior. Brienne? Also a badass warrior. Both are tasked with protecting those who they promised to; Brienne has the Stark girls and Slauson has Jay Cutler. Both have also faced adversity to where they are now as Slauson grew up with a stutter and Brienne grew up a woman in seemingly a “man’s” world.

 

Akiem Hicks / Tormund Giantsbane

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Akiem Nicks was brought in to solidify the Bears’ front 7 against the likes of the Packers, Vikings and Lions. Tormund was brought in to do the same, uniting his Wildling people with other men to face off against the White Walkers…essentially the Packers, Vikings and Lions. In a Bears fan’s world, they are one in the same.

Bobby Massie / Giant “Wun Wun”

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Bobby Massie is also new to the Bears and he is a big bad 6’6, 316 pound man who is set to play tackle next to Kyle Long. Wun-Wun is a big bad 15+ foot, one ton (at least) giant who was set to fight alongside Jon Snow. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. What we do know for sure is that they both have a hell of a mean streak and will be prepared to kick some ass.

Wun Wun

Any other player/character comparisons you can think of? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter! Game of Thrones Season 6 begins Sunday, April 24th

2016 Fantasy Football Rankings – Quarterbacks

Not sure if you noticed, but the quarterback position in 2015 across the league got thin in a hurry. The fact that Brian Hoyer and Matt Hasselbeck were relevant was a HUGE problem.

Most of the quarterbacks below got the job done in 2015 and should be poised to do the same or more in 2016. Some, like Andrew Luck and Tony Romo, are looking for a healthy comeback.

(You’ll notice that Joe Flacco isn’t one of them. Year 2 of Marc Trestman’s play-calling and a lack of talent at wide receiver keeps him out of the Top 20)

1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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I’ve harped on it here enough in the past 4 months, but Cam Newton was winning you multiple weeks in fantasy by himself in 2015. His 35 touchdown passes were tied for 2nd in the league…and then he added 10 more rushing. Newton also gets at least one more weapon next season with Kelvin Benjamin returning.

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

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Tom Brady is just a year younger than Peyton Manning, yet led the league in touchdown passes a year ago. Brady also chipped in nearly 300 yards per game, and made the most out of depleted receiving group. Heck, he even made Scott Chandler relevant for a week or two.

3. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

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Almost as reliable as Brady was Carson Palmer. He didn’t look great in the post season, but his loaded offense allowed him to average 291 yards and at least 2 touchdowns per game. Another healthy year like 2015 would warrant a much higher pick than where he was drafted on average a year ago.

4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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Russell Wilson is weird. Yes for those reasons you just thought of, but also because of his streaky production. Through the first 10 weeks of the season in 2015, Wilson had just one game of multiple touchdown passes. Then he gave you 5 straight weeks of no less than 3 TDs per game. As the Seahawks look to probably move past Marshawn Lynch, it would be much more beneficial for them to let Wilson throw it and have Thomas Rawls compliment him.

5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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There are a lot of people who probably don’t like me having Aaron Rodgers this far down the list, but the truth is that the discount-double check got checked down last season. Rodgers was a different player without his old-reliable Jordy Nelson and his running game wasn’t bailing him out either when he needed it. Yes, the 2 Hail Mary’s proved he can still do whatever he wants when it matters most, but you should be able to get him with better value in the 3rd or 4th round…as of now.

6. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Blake Bortles jumped from throwing just 11 touchdown passes his rookie season to 35 in his sophomore year. #BortlesKombat has some room to grow, and probably will with a pair of very consistent scoring receivers like Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. The Jaguars are a team that plays in a lot of comeback situations and shootouts that make Bortles excellent for Fantasy garbage points.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Ben Roethlisberger led the league with 328 pass yards per game, and you’d think it’s hard not to replicate that kind of production when you have Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams to work with. The only question is whether or not he can stay in one piece.

 

8. Eli Manning, New York Giants

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I’m always skeptic about Eli Manning, as he seems to regularly fold in high pressure situations during the regular season. His 35 touchdown passes were no joke though, and having Odell Beckham Jr. there to make him look better is also hard to argue with. As his offensive coordinator from the past 2 years takes over the reigns as head coach, the offense shouldn’t look terribly different.

9. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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Andy Dalton was as good as anyone in the first half of the season last year. He likely went undrafted in most leagues and became the hottest free agent in a hurry in yours. He went from throwing 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2014 to 25/7 in 2015. Had he been healthy down the stretch for the Bengals, there’s a good chance they would have beaten the Steelers over Wild Card weekend. His offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, might be elsewhere but it’s hard to imagine he’ll take a step back with AJ Green and Tyler Eifert still there to throw to.

10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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Drew Brees paired with Sean Payton as head coach will always get you the yardage. “Breesus” averaged 324 yards per game. The crazy numbers don’t kick in until around mid-season though, like ya know…7 touchdowns and 505 yards in Week 8. The fact Luke McCown made an appearance makes you nervous though and wonder if he can keep it up (NOT LIKE THAT, YA JERKS).

11. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

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Derek Carr made solid strides in 2015, throwing multiple TDs in 11 of the 16 games he started. Throwing 32 touchdowns after 21 in his rookie season and growing with Amari Cooper makes his projection in 2016 even more exciting.

12. Kirk Cousins, Washington

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I don’t know which Kirk Cousins you’re going to get in 2016. The one that was just okay through Week 14, or the one that tossed 11 touchdowns in 3 games to will Washington to an NFC East title and will get him paid big time for it. The upside with a healthy Jordan Reed, and that 158.3 QB rating game in Week 10, has him ranked higher than he probably is….for now.

13. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

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I don’t think there was a quarterback who did more with less than Jay Cutler.

  • No 1st Round draft pick Kevin White
  • Only 8 games with Alshon Jeffery, 9 games with Eddie Royal
  • Marc Mariani, Josh Bellamy, and Cameron Meredith as a his only WRs multiple games

Yet he still played one of his best seasons as a Chicago Bear. Having continuity in playcalling next year and healthy receivers makes me feel better about Cutler than most next season.

14. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

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Andrew Luck probably went in the first or 2nd round in most leagues last year. Those who drafted him that high got 7 games, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions to show for it. As of this moment, I’m not sure if you’re going to get the 40 touchdown guy from 2014 or the injury plagued/turnover happy QB of 2016. His talent and ability will keep him higher though.

15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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For the first 8 games of the season, Philip Rivers averaged 344 yards and 2 touchdowns per game. Then he lost Keenan Allen for the year and it was 254 yards and 1.4 touchdowns per game the rest of the year. Rivers still got paid big money and his head coach Mike McCoy was extended through 2017, so the organization seems to be banking on next year looking like the first half of 2015.

16. Tony Romo

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys

There’s been more talk about who will replace Tony Romo than his potential production when he returns in 2016. If you draft Romo next season, it’s to backup your #1 guy and the possibility he stays upright for 34 touchdowns like he did in 2014. If the Cowboys pick up a DeMarco Murray-like running back, maybe he will.

17. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Ryan

I don’t know how you can trust Matt Ryan anymore, coming off the worst statistical year of his career since his rookie season. However, he does have arguably the best wide receiver in football, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman can set him up better if his offensive coordinator can figure out how to use play-action.

18. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill

Before last season, Ryan Tannehill was improving every season. Then his coaches forgot how to coach. It’s cliche now, but Adam Gase worked wonders with Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler. So you can hold onto hope one more year with Ryan Tannehill as a backup.

19. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Bucanneers

Jameis

I get a feeling Jameis Winston is going to jump up this list a bit, and could very well be a starter for you if Mike Evans can avoid dropping the ball. What’s going to be key is seeing how his newly elevated head coach, Dirk Koetter, does handling the personnel after getting Lovie Smith launched.

20. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick brought the “Fitzmagic” last season, throwing more than 30 touchdowns for the first time in his career. The Jets utilized their running game to set him up greatly in the red zone, and the Brandon Marshall/Eric Decker combo ate because of it. Can you bank on Fitzpatrick doing it again though when couldn’t any of the 10 years before?

Anyone too high or too low? Was anyone left out? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

For more position rankings:

Quarterbacks / Running Backs / Wide Receivers

NFL Week 13 Fantasy Mailbag

Each Week 13 I like to remind Fantasy Football participants to thank their league commissioners for organizing everything…as long as they scheduled the playoffs to start next week and the championship to take place Week 16.

JJ Watt yell

By the end of the season, you’ve come too far to worry about players on teams who have their division clinched and will potentially be rested Week 17 to make a run in the playoffs. Right now, I would worry about the Patriots, Cardinals and even the Panthers (who could be undefeated still) doing exactly that.

Now for immediate concerns, you are…

A) all good and have clinched a playoff spot. Just playing for the best seeding possible.

B) fighting for a playoff spot. It’s already win or go home.

C) hoping to spoil things for anyone that (B) applies to. It’s about pride at this point.

There is a “D” but you don’t want to be that person. You know, the person who drafted a team and didn’t give enough of a shit to do any maintenance on their roster at all, even after paying dues for a cash league. I played against Jordy Nelson last week. That’s all you need to know.

Quick Hits

  • Perhaps the most exciting individual matchup this weekend will be Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Darrelle Revis. In the past, Revis Island had scared away fantasy owners from even considering starting a #1 WR against him, even quarterbacks at times. In recent weeks though, Revis has allowed big games to DeAndre Hopkins (5 catches, 118 yards, 2 TDs) and Allen Robinson (6-121). Meanwhile, Beckham has cracked 100+ yards in 4 straight weeks, and has done so 13 times in his last 20 games.

[Update] Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles was asked about Revis’s status this week and responded with “I don’t think so.”

ODB dive

 

  • Another team that could potentially clinch their division by Week 17 are the Minnesota Vikings. Big reason why, and the player they’d likely be resting, is Adrian Peterson. AP has 634 yards and 5 touchdowns in his last 5 games, is 72 yards off his 2012 pace when he recorded 2,097 yards, and faces a Seattle defense this week that allowed 117 total yards to DeAngelo Williams. He’ll be the Viking’s best chance against the Seahawks in a black and blue matchup.

AP TD

  • The funniest thing in football may in fact be the biggest difference for tonight’s matchup between the Lions and Packers…Jim Bob Cooter. The Lions have won 3 straight and now have a chance to sweep Green Bay. During that win streak, Matthew Stafford has thrown for 861 yards, no interceptions and 7 touchdowns (5 last week against Philly). Amazing how good Cooter, the OC (try not laughing), looks when his quarterback actually throws the ball to Calvin Johnson.

Stafford to Megatron

 

Mail Time!

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I don’t like Antonio Andrews, or any Titans RBs, at all but seeing Charcandrick West practicing with the Chiefs again leads me to believe Spencer Ware is going to lose a lot of touches. If West plays this week, go with the starters in Andrews and Shaun Draughn. I wouldn’t expect touchdowns out of either, unfortunately. If West doesn’t go, plug Ware in for Andrews.

 

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I understand the concern with Tom Brady, but haven’t we seen this story before? Without Gronk, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola, Brady threw 3 touchdowns against the best defense in the league. This week he plays the Eagles and could likely have Amendola back. Philly has given up 10 touchdowns in the last 2 week, and Brady has built a reputation for making something out of nothing (no-name receivers).

If you’re having strong enough doubts, this could be a great week for Ryan Fitzpatrick if he’s miraculously available on your waivers. Bryan Hoyer and Ryan Tannehill could be okay plays if you’re desperate.

 

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The James Starks thing has come and gone, as Eddie Lacy has woken up finally. Now it becomes a question of whether or not you believe in CJ Anderson or not…

If Anderson is going to keep coming back into our good graces, it would be against the Chargers. They have allowed double-digit rushing TDs and 1,800+ rush yards. My gut tells me the Broncos will ride the hot back, just like they should ride the hot quarterback. So start CJ.

For matchup reasons, I have to lean toward LaGarrette Blount over Latavius Murray. The Chiefs have only allowed one back to run for more than 71 yards and have given up 1 rushing touchdown since Week 5. Meanwhile, the Eagles look like they’ve quit on their coach.

 

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Similar to my reasoning to start Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount, that’s why I like Scott Chandler this week. I picked him up in both my leagues (starting him in the one without Gary Barnidge), because Brady loves targeting his tight end. Last time Gronk missed significant time, Brady made Mike Hoomanawanui relevant.

If that doesn’t convince you, Eric Ebron would be a sneaky pickup tonight as the Packers have allowed a touchdown to TEs in 4 straight matchups. The even sneakier move would be Cameron Brate against the Falcons with Austin Seferian-Jenkins still down.

 

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RB: If the Rams offense wasn’t a complete dumpster fire right now, I would say Todd Gurley is a no-brainer. But they are and that means he isn’t. Tony Romo going down means Darren McFadden is going to get all the checkdown passes he could dream of from Matt Cassel. I feel better about McFadden’s floor than Gurley’s ceiling this week.

QB: If Jay Cutler is available, go get him. The 49ers defense is a very different squad on the road than they are at home, allowing 35 points per game away from Levi’s Stadium.

 

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WR: TY Hilton and Eric Decker are easy picks for me. The Steelers are giving up the most catches and  2nd most yards to receivers, and Decker is a touchdown machine scoring in 8 of 10 games. I like what D-Jax has done since returning, but the Cowboys pass defense is brutal.

 

QB: I am going to go with my common theme for this post, trust the Cooter. I am going to use the Lions OC’s name for as long as I can, so deal with it. Stafford’s got a hot hand and Rivers has a bad matchup.

 

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I feel weird saying this, but I like Ryan Fitzpatrick a lot more this week. The Giants secondary is allowing 250+ yards and at least one touchdown to every QB they’ve faced. Meanwhile, I think the Packers are going to get Rodgers killed tonight…but he could always be “RODJAS!” again.

 

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We do have a “Thor” in our league. Otherwise, I recommend GREG, SON OF OLSEN!

Greg son of Olsen

Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend! 

5 Potential Bears OC Candidates To Replace Adam Gase

After winning 4 of their last 6 games, the hottest topic regarding the Chicago Bears this week seems to be “Can they keep Adam Gase?” It’s a fair conversation to have as Gase is presumed to be one of the top head coaching candidates to fill any of a number NFL openings for next season. In 9 games, Gase has the Bears offense looking as respectable as any with Jay Cutler playing his best football since coming to Chicago. He was also very close to being the 49ers head coach after last season, had San Francisco’s higher-ups not been so sold on this guy…

Daisy Tomsula

Vacancies across the league already include Tennessee and Miami, unless Dan Campbell continues to work wonders. Other teams that are expected or rumored to be looking for a new head coach include the Colts, Saints, Lions, Browns, Chargers, Rams, and the aforementioned 49ers. I wouldn’t anticipate this to be appealing to Gase, but there are several major conference openings in college football as well. The point is, there are plenty of options for Gase to move up in the football world and Bears fans shouldn’t be shocked to see Cutler working with yet another offensive coordinator next season.

Is it possible the Bears will do everything in their power to keep Gase? Sure. They could make Gase an offer similar to the Cowboys’ Jason Garrett deal, making him the highest paid coordinator in football with assurances he’ll be the next head coach after John Fox is done. In 2008, Garrett was making $3 million as an assistant waiting in the wings behind then Cowobys coach Wade Phillips. League rules prevented Jerry Jones to name Garrett as an heir to take over for Phillips, but it was the worst kept secret in football.

The likelihood of Gase staying in Chicago after this season isn’t particularly probable, but one could be confident Fox will have a strong candidate in place to fill the opening. After all, Fox did bring the best two available coordinators with him after taking the Bears job, Gase and Vic Fangio.

What do Fox’s OC options look like for the 2016 season?

 

Mike McCoy

Current Chargers Head Coach

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With the team’s likely move to Los Angeles and another underwhelming season, the Chargers organization could be looking for a fresh face and a new voice in the locker room. The Bears interviewed Mike McCoy in 2013 before he took the Chargers job. McCoy had just reshaped the Broncos offense from accommodating Tim Tebow in 2011 to Peyton Manning in 2012, with Fox as his boss and Gase as QB coach. Fox and McCoy are already very familiar with each other. Gase has also credited McCoy on multiple occasions for being one of the better influences on his coaching style.

 

Dowell Loggains

Current Bears Quarterbacks Coach

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The transition for Dowell Loggains to offensive coordinator, on paper, looks seamless. Loggains is already working closely with Cutler on a daily basis and would essential continue using Gase’s playbook. He isn’t inexperienced when it comes to play-calling either, as he served as Titans OC in 2012-2013 under Mike Munchak. The concern, however, is that Loggains could leave with Gase if he’s hired elsewhere.

 

Ken Whisenhunt

Former Titans Head Coach

Ken Whisenhunt

Ken Whisenhunt keeps getting head coaching jobs because he continuously gets it done as an offensive coordinator. Before his 1 and a half year Titans tenure, Whisenhunt called plays as McCoy’s OC in San Diego in 2013. The Chargers had improved from 31st in total offense to 5th with Whisenhunt on the sidelines. The Chargers also ranked 4th in touchdowns and 5th in passing yards that season as Ryan Matthews had his best year rushing with 1,255 yards.

 

Bill Lazor

Current Dolphins Offensive Coordinator

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This really depends on what the Miami Dolphins chooses to do about their head coaching situation. If Campbell drops the interim tag, I would expect Bill Lazor to either stay put or leave for a head coaching position (although unlikely). Lazor has said that he let down former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin before his dismissal in October. Since then, the Dolphins have played like the high powered offensive team they were expected to be. Lazor runs a quick-hitting read offense works similarly to Gase’s current system. It operates best when the running backs are the central focus. Case in point, Lamar Miller: 124 total yards per game and and 9 touchdowns since Philbin’s firing with a 3-2 record.

 

Rob Chudzinski

Current Colts Offensive Coordinator

Rob Chudzinski

Chuck Pagano’s fate in Indianapolis has felt all but sealed as his Colts team has gone from predicted Super Bowl contenders to a playoff battle with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rob Chudzinski has run up and down the ranks of offensive coaching staffs since coming into the league in 2004. “Chud” is best known for innovating the original 2-TE system and helping Cam Newton breakout during his rookie season with the most passing yards of his career so far in 2011. Chudzinski has recently taken over as Colts OC following Pep Hamilton’s scapegoat dismissal in October. He’s a play-caller with head coaching chops but probably a little out-of-the-box in terms of schemes for the Bears and their current path. You can’t help but notice though, how good the Bears offense has looked when utilizing both Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller in recent weeks.

 

Have another potential Offensive Coordinator candidate in mind for the Bears? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

 

Who The Bears Are 8 Games Into 2015

Following their win on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers, the Chicago Bears are a 3-5 team. Your team is what your record is, which has the Bears placed 3rd in the NFC North and 3 games back behind the 6-2 Packers and Vikings. Being 0-3 in the division doesn’t help and the playoffs are the last thing on anybody’s mind, but finding their identity is more encouraging than you would expect.

The Bears are a much better coached team than they were the last 2 seasons. A Matt Forte quote from Week 1 seems to have held true for most of the season.

The benefit of good coaching is most evident in Jay Cutler’s play so far. It’s amazing that it took 7 years for the Bears to hire an offensive coordinator who would scheme to Cutler’s strengths. OC Adam Gase’s offense allows Cutler to get the ball out faster on quick hitting pass plays, roll out and throw on the run, and to also check in and out of play-calls at will. A commitment to the running game sets him up very well in play-action and limits the opportunities to turn the ball over. As of now, Cutler is just 20th in interceptions through Week 9 with 5. That’s half as many as Blake Bortles and Sam Bradford, and 8 less than league-worst Peyton Manning with 13. Andrew Luck is one pick behind Peyton.

Cutler isn’t perfect, of course. He has 4 fumbles on the season, that have come as the result of both poor blocking and an inability to protect the ball. Cutler has also thrown interceptions at costly moments, notably on a comeback drive against the Packers and in the Lions’ end zone. The difference this season, as opposed to those with Marc Trestman, Mike Tice, and Mike Martz calling plays, Cutler and Gase shake off the bad turnovers with a more aggressive attack. Case in point, following a pick-6 by Jason Verett on what appeared to be a misstep with Alshon Jeffery on the outside, Cutler answered with a touchdown in 3 minutes on 7 plays. In the four games prior, we’ve seen very similar drives giving the Bears chances to win at the end of regulation.

Zach Miller touchdown

The Bears are a project, but one that is improving as the season goes on. After starting 0-3 against a murderers row of Green Bay, Arizona and Seattle, the Bears are 3-2 in their last 5 games. Just a handful of unfortunate plays have resulted in the Bears losing by field goals to Detroit and Minnesota. It’s probably sad to find optimism from that, but it beats the average margin of 15.3 points per loss a season ago. The coaches and GM Ryan Pace are accountable of their players, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Rather than allow Jared Allen to take up snaps and be unproductive as a 3-4 linebacker, Pace moved him to Carolina for a 6th round draft pick and opened a spot on the roster for Sam Acho. While the Bears are paying Alan Ball $3 million to play cornerback, DC Vic Fangio has plugged in 8-year veteran Tracy Porter instead, who has proven to have better coverage and ball instincts. Porter is making $850,000 on a 1-year deal.

The coaching staff’s trust in young players has also been a positive sign for the team’s growth. Rookie safety Adrian Amos has started all 8 games this season and has provided some stability to what’s been a glaring need for years at the position. Amos is always where he needs to be and tackles well. After injuries to Ego Ferguson and the eventual release of Jeremiah Ratliff, 2nd round pick Eddie Goldman looks as good as advertised. 2nd-year defensive lineman Will Sutton has transitioned well from 3-technique to end. Then the inside linebacker position has been manned better with Christian Jones and Jonathan Anderson in place of Shea McClellan. Both Anderson (rookie) and Jones (year 2) were undrafted and spent time on the Bears practice squad.

Jeremy Langford’s performance against the Chargers was another case for optimism as the Bears move forward, possibly without Forte after this season. Not knocking Forte at all, but Langford has a very similar skill set running, receiving and pass blocking. Langford also has fresher legs, less mileage and an exceptional 2nd gear once he breaks the line of scrimmage. It will be interesting to see what Forte’s prospects are after the season. Whether a team closer to contending is willing to pay big or if he’s just more comfortable in Chicago, the Bears appear to be fine at the running back position.

The Bears are not a team with much depth. This comes from years and years of bad drafting and poor offseason signings, but the Bears don’t have much after either of their offensive or defensive starters. You know things are bad when the drop off from Bryce Callahan to Sherrick McManis at the nickel results in a game-tying Stefon Diggs touchdown against the Vikings, before losing to a Blair Walsh field goal in Week 8. A pleasant surprise at tackle has been Charles Leno Jr. filling in for former pro bowler Jermon Bushrod, and apparently keeping his starting spot. But if the Bears lose another interior linemen, they may have to start converting defensive tackles to the position…(sorta kidding).

Outside of the quarterback position, the difference between Jeffery and the rest of the Bears’ healthy wide receivers is probably the vastest. It’s a shame we haven’t had a chance to see Jeffery paired with 1st round pick Kevin White yet, which would have allowed Eddie Royal to be the slot receiver he was intended to be this season. Having to throw to Cameron Meredith, Josh Bellamy, and Marc Mariana isn’t particularly ideal for Cutler on key passing downs and important drives, but he’s had to do it. Marquess Wilson has been a bright spot though as a downfield option with quality speed.

Despite low expectations the rest of the way, the Bears are likable. There’s something to be said about the team’s resiliency when having to deal with so many injuries and adversity. Besides their 48-23 loss in Week 2 to the Cardinals, they’ve always had a chance to win. After going to the pro bowl in each of his two seasons as a guard (the first to do so since 1970), Kyle Long is developing into an excellent right tackle. Also moving over from guard, Matt Slauson has taken on line calls and has had to start as the 3rd string center with injuries to Will Montgomery and Hroniss Grasu. Both Slauson and Long have provided the leadership, along with Cutler, that seemed to be missing from the offense since Olin Kreutz departed from the team 5 years ago.

Big free agent signee Pernell McPhee is doing the same with the defense. When McPhee is pressuring the quarterback, good things tend to happen and he sets the tone for his unit as well. He ranks 6th among DL/OLB pressures on the quarterback with 31 (JJ Watt, 1st with 45) this season. For a fan base that talks a lot about having pride in being all “blue collar”, there’s definitely a workman like personality that the McPhee and the front 7 bring.

The next 3 games for the Bears will be quite a test. They face the two best defenses in the league, St. Louis and Denver, back-to-back and then have the Packers on Thanksgiving night. Realistically, the second half of the season will be for evaluation going into 2016, but the Bears are competitive, entertaining, and a lot less painful to watch than they were a year ago. Stay tuned to see if that keeps up…

For more, follow along on Facebook and Twitter

NFL Week 5 Fantasy Mailbag

We’re now a quarter of the way into the season but for most of you, we’re actually 30% of the way there as your Fantasy league’s regular season probably goes through Week 13.

In no way am I adding any pressure on you to turn things around or anything. Relax.

Bailey sleep gif

Here are your best performers so far at each position so far. 

Quarterbacks

5. Tyrod Taylor (BUF) – 988 pass yards, 8 TD / 4 INT, 111 rush yards

4. Carson Palmer (AZ) – 1,155 pass yards, 10 TD / 3 INT

3. Andy Dalton (CIN) – 1,187 pass yards, 9 TD / 1 INT

2. Tom Brady (NE) – (Week 4 Bye) 1,112 pass yards, 9 TD / 0 INT

1. Aaron Rodgers (GB) – 995 pass yards, 11 TD / 0 INT, 107 rush yards

Rodgers Week 4

Running Backs

5. Matt Forte (CHI) – 367 rush yards, 1 TD, 133 rec. yards, 13 catches

4. Mark Ingram (NO) – 204 rush yards, 2 TD, 203 rec. yards, 22 catches

3. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – 372 rush yards, 3 TD, 92 rec. yards, 9 catches

2. Jamaal Charles (KC) – 306 rush yards, 4 TD, 151 rec. yards, 20 catches, 1 TD

1. Devonta Freeman (ATL) – 252 rush yards, 7 TD, 196 rec. yards, 17 catches 

Devonta Week 4

Wide Receivers 

5. DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) – 31 catches, 409 rec. yards, 3 TD

4. Antonio Brown (PIT) – 34 catches, 478 rec. yards, 2 TD, 70 return yards

3. Travis Benjamin (CLE) – 16 catches, 328 rec. yards, 4 TD, 214 return yards, 1 TD

2. Larry Fitzgerald (AZ) – 30 catches, 432 rec. yards, 5 TD

1. Julio Jones (ATL) – 38 catches, 478 rec. yards, 4 TD

Julio Jones Week 4

Tight Ends

5. Charles Clay (BUF) – 21 catches, 255 yards, 2 TD

4. Tyler Eifert (CIN) – 16 catches, 222 yards, 3 TD

3. Jason Witten (DAL) – 25 catches, 238 yards, 2 TD

2. Travis Kelce (KC) – 21 catches, 293 yards, 2 TD

1. Rob Gronkowski (NE) – 16 catches, 308 yards, 4 TD

Gronk Week 4

Mail Time!

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Starting with your WRs…

Sammy Watkins is still listed as Questionable and being considered day-to-day. I wouldn’t bank on him going this weekend, nor do I like Michael Crabtree against the Broncos defense. Denver’s pass defense is currently tops in the NFL…Eddie Royal, on the other hand, goes against the league’s worst pass defense when it comes to allowing WR touchdowns. The Bears also appear to be getting Alshon Jeffery back, which will only soften the coverage on Royal. So yeah, Royal.

While I don’t love starting anyone against the Seahawks defense, Andy Dalton (aka “ADalt” in my Fantasy world) has been too good to sit this season. Dalton is throwing 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns in all of his games so far, and Seattle has faced only 1 decent quarterback so far.

I know Bruce Arians is dubbing Chris Johnson as the #1 running back in Arizona, but I’m not sure how much weight that holds when he has Andre Ellington back. Detroit’s run defense has only given up more than 50 yards once, and that was to Adrian peterson…With Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick out, I think the Cowboys are in big trouble going against New England. The #BradyRevengeTour is going call for a lot of scoring and a lot of red zone opportunities for the Patriots running backs again. If his usage in the 2nd half of Week 3 is any indication, LeGarrette Blount is going to get his.

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If Andy Reid’s play calling wasn’t so conservative, I would lean toward Alex Smith. But Andy Dalton hasn’t done anything to warrant benching him yet, and I’m very eager to see what he can do against the Legion of Boom. The Bears have also somehow figured out how to get to quarterbacks after cutting ties with Jared Allen (weird).

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RB: Ronnie Hillman – He’s basically a co-starter with CJ Anderson getting the same amount of touches and more production. And he’s actually reached the end zone…Tevin Coleman’s taking a backseat to Devonta Freeman and his Jim Brown-like numbers. And just no on Ryan Matthews. No.

WR: Emmanuel Sanders – If the Bears weren’t enough proof, that Raiders secondary is BAD. Sanders is also getting ALL the Peyton Manning passes, and you’re not going to get that kind of production with your other options. Then I go with Kendall Wright. The Bills have an incredible front 7 but are incredibly susceptible to the pass. Wright’s averaging 10.5 yards per target too.

I’m not an odds maker, but I would keep betting on Todd Gurley while he’s healthy.

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Two reasons I like Pierre Garcon the most. (1) Even if Desean Jackson comes back this weekend, he’s not going to be 100% and only takes pressure off Garcon. (2) Kirk Cousins loves throwing to Garcon and you have to think Washington will be playing catchup against the high power Falcons offense.

I like Sproles in the flex if you get return yard points. If you have better running back options, play them…but you get the feeling he’s going to get as many chances as possible to make the team that let him go pay for it.

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(1) Derek Carr is either going to show us all how good he can be, or he’s going to get his ass kicked by the best pass defense in the league. If Alex Smith is your best available option, you can try him…however, I like Jay Cutler even better in his game against the KC D that’s giving up the most passing TDs in the league.

(2) The upside is higher with Latavius Murray. He may have been put in timeout but if the Raiders want to have a chance against the Broncos D, I think he’s learned his lesson. Cardinals front 7 is too good for me to feel comfortable starting Abdullah ahead of him, despite the strong showing he had against the Seahawks.

(3). If I’m picking 3, I’m not playing Carlos Hyde. The Giants run defense is one of the best in the NFL and this is what the 49ers offense looks like:

Tire Fire

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I know Breesus, King of the Drews, just threw his 400th touchdown but Carson Palmer is far more trustworthy this season at this point.

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TJ Yeldon finally eclipsed 100 yards and his next matchup should make Fantasy owners hungry. The Bucs are giving up the 3rd most rushing yards and a touchdown to running backs in 3 of their first 4 games. Given the matchups and Jack Del Rio’s benching trigger finger, I feel much better about Yeldon.

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I would go with neither of the Kearses. Seattle WRs are more unpredictable than Belichick running backs and retired defensive players are retired defensive players…Snead got more snaps than any Saints WR last week and I say roll with the Waiver Flavor of the Week.

Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend!